Charming warts away saves on duct tape

Published 7:25 am Wednesday, March 27, 2024

By Bonnie Brown

My husband Tom had a wart pop up on his finger recently.  I told him that it was unfortunate that I didn’t currently know of anyone who could “charm” warts away.  His quizzical expression only encouraged me to tell him about Mr. Austin Dyer who lived in the neighborhood where I grew up.  Mr. Dyer was a kind, soft-spoken, pipe-smoking elderly man who supposedly could “charm” away a wart.  I desperately wanted to get a wart, or someone in my family to get a wart, to see if he could indeed remove it through this hocus-pocus method.  No luck. 

But I also remember bits of a conversation my mother had with his wife that Mr. Dyer also said that to keep shingles from being harmful to you was to slather the blood from a speckled chicken on your back so the rash couldn’t “meet.”  To my young ears, it sounded like a reasonable solution to whatever shingles might be.  Many years later, I learned that shingles only occur on one side of the face or body and typically clear up within 2 to 4 weeks later.  And when I had shingles much later in life, they did go away without the need to sacrifice a chicken.  

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Folklore remedies that I read about include a recipe for kidney stones which consisted of the juice of horseradish made into a thin syrup, mixed with sugar, taken every four hours.  Yuck!  That would most certainly have been a short-lived approach in my book for removing kidney stones.  Vick’s salve will cure almost anything.  And I remember getting tobacco smoke blown into my ear to cure my earache.  I don’t know if it was the smoke, or that I was really sleepy, but it seemed to help soothe away the discomfort.    

Other remedies include copper bracelets for carpal tunnel, and supposedly chewed tobacco takes the sting away from a bee bite.  Then there’s getting a bee (or ant) to sting you to help with arthritis pain.  Really?  And applying WD-40 to the bite is supposed to help, with the added cure for bursitis too.  I’d opt for trying the WD-40 rather than a nasty sting.  

There are many other helpful practices.  For instance, there’s the tried-and-true chicken soup for a cold or flu.  My family’s preference would be chicken noodle or chicken and rice soup.  The soup works for colds but is also just a wonderful comfort food.  Hot tea helps a sore throat, or you can gargle with salt water.  And a nice warm soak in the tub eases aching muscles.  Can’t sleep, try melatonin, or warm milk.  

I love to use a heating pad on my back while comfortably sitting in my easy chair. It is so soothing and relaxes me which helps with the achy muscles.  

So, Tom was able to get rid of the wart with modern medicine although I did do an internet search for someone who might use the charm method.  No luck.  Certainly no one in our zip code.  But I did come across one study that found that placing duct tape over warts was 25 percent more effective than freezing them.  I love duct tape.  It has many uses and I have it in several colors.  I could have coordinated Tom’s treatment with his wardrobe!